Everyone loves a fresh start, and the majority of us will excitedly be making New Year’s Resolutions with the hope of becomes our best selves in 2018. Sadly though, it’s reported that only 8% of us manage to stick to our good intentions. But I don’t want that for you! Be in with the best chance of being a winner in 2018 with these tips for sticking to your resolutions.
Create a vision board
Having a visual reminder of what you want for yourself is not only uplifting and motivating, but it could also impact your subconscious mind. Making a vision board means collecting images that represent what you want for yourself – it could be that dream trip to India, learning Spanish, meeting your ideal guy or gal, or that handbag you’ve been eyeing up. To create your vision board, you can either kick it old school and grab magazines for some cutting and sticking, or create a document on your computer and use images from Google. Make it bright, colourful and inspiring and have it as your computer’s desktop wallpaper or pop it up on the actual wall so you’ll see it every day. Having daily reminders of your goals primes you at a subconscious level to seek out opportunities to make those dreams and desires a happen. It also means it’s top of mind, keeping you focused and motivated to make your vision board a reality.
Hack your Reward System
Are you looking to change a habit such as giving up smoking or steering clear of that 3 pm raid on the biscuit tin? According to ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg, the golden rule of habit change is to hack your reward system by creating a new habit with a similar reward as the old one. For example, an energy slump at 3 pm had previously had you reaching for the biccies which gave you a boost of energy (the reward). Instead, at 3 pm, you could grab a green tea, an apple and go for a brisk walk to boost your energy levels instead. A new habit and a similar reward make changing habits much easier.
Set SMART goals
The concept of SMART goals might remind you of dull corporate training days, but by ensuring our resolutions are specific and measurable, we’re way more likely to stick to them. Instead of intending to ‘read more books’ this year, set a goal to spend your half an hour bus journey to work reading for the whole of 2018. Or, to go to one hour-long yoga class at your local studio, once a week on Sunday night for at least six weeks. Making it specific and measurable means you’ll know when you’ve achieved it (so you can celebrate!), and it’s easier to pin yourself down and stay accountable when you have all the details figured out.
This is a key technique I use in my therapy practice to help clients to make changes in their lives. When we vividly imagine something, the subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between that and reality. We can, therefore, use visualisation to create new, positive thoughts, habits and responses by imagining how we’d like things to be. To practice this, get nice and relaxed and close your eyes. Imagine yourself in the near future, having achieved your goal or stuck to your resolution. Say your goal is to take up running and complete a 10k. Imagine yourself on the day of the race, feeling energetic, fit and confident. Imagine running with ease, the wind in your hair, the crowd cheering you on and the incredible feeling of pride as you finish the race. It’s a form of mental rehearsal, which makes creating new behaviours more automatic.
Enlist a Friend
Everything is easier with the help of a friend and New Years intentions are no different. Not only will it be more fun, but sharing a resolution with a friend will help you both to stay accountable – you wouldn’t want to skip the meditation class and leave your friend hanging, would you? If there’s a group of you with a common goal, set up a Facebook or Whatsapp group to keep each other motivated and on track.